The average Labrador Retriever lifespan is 12 to 12.5 years. Although a recent study suggests that chocolate Labs live shorter lives averaging 10.7 years, so significantly less than black and yellow Labradors. There are many factors that influence lifespan in Labs. These include diet, healthcare and management, and inherited diseases. We are going to take a look at these factors, and how you can influence them to help your dog live longer.
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‘Labrador Life Span was written by our founder, best-selling author Pippa Mattinson. To get Pippa’s weekly free training tips just drop your email into the box below’
Labrador Retriever Life Span FAQ:
So we’ve answered how long do labs live on average. But this isn’t a guaranteed Labrador lifespan for every dog. Some Labradors live a good deal longer than twelve. But some unfortunately don’t even make it to ten. So what controls how long your Labrador will live? And how can you influence your dog’s life span so you can spend the best and happiest years together?
What Controls Labrador Retriever Life Span?
There are two key categories of factors that influence your Labrador’s life expectancy. And the life span of any dog.
The other is the events that happen to your dog during the course of his life. Through puppy hood to old age. Things like accidents, injury, and disease.
How Long Can A Labrador Live?
Life span statistics for dogs are often wildly inaccurate and based on outdated information. But luckily we no longer need to guess. We can give you accurate Labrador life span information, as we now have data from scientific studies.
What They Show
Two surveys were carried out in 2004 and 2013. The earlier study showed the median age of death in over 500 Labradors was 12.25. The later study gave a median age at death in a group of over 400 dogs as 12.5 years.
A bigger and more recent study published in 2018 looked at over 30,000 Labradors. This one found a median longevity of 12 years in Labradors overall. So the average Labrador lifespan seems to work out at around 12 years.
Is This Changing?
But there is some good news. There is evidence that the Labrador lifespan might be increasing. One recent study, although it only looked at 39 dogs, suggested that the average could be getting closer to 14 years. So maybe our original answer to the question “how long do Labradors live?” is changing!
The longest lived Labrador we can find official confirmation for was over 19 years old. And you’ll find plenty of reports in the comments section below of readers’ Labradors living over 15 years. So, can you help your dog to reach these high numbers? Let’s look first at the genes that control how your dog looks and behaves. And which set broad limits to the life span of your Labrador.
Genes & The Labrador Retriever Lifespan
Every purebred Labrador inherits a number of Labrador characteristics that he will share with all other pedigree Labradors.
If you have a greedy Lab then you might find a slow feed bowl helpful, like this one
What Do Studies Say?
Studies have shown that reducing calorie intake in dogs, can increase life expectancy by a significant amount. This isn’t really surprising when we consider the health impact of obesity. But it is a message that is being ignored by a great many dog owners.
A study published in 2003 showed that Labradors are capable of maintaining a consistent lean body mass throughout their lives.
Resist Those Puppy Eyes
There is no “tendency to getting fat” in the breed as many people mistakenly believe. There is only a “tendency to eat a lot and be very good at persuading people to provide food”. You have the keys to the food cupboard and you need to resist your dog’s charms.
Keeping your dog slim can help him live a long and comfortable life. It can defer the onset of, and reduce the impact of, conditions like arthritis in older dogs. Elderly dogs that retain their youthful waistline have a more active and happy retirement.
Being firm about the quantity of food that your dog eats each day will also help to ensure you have the benefits of his company for the longest time.
So, Is Longevity In Dogs Inherited?
Yes, to a certain extent, it is clear that longevity is inherited. In that some dogs will have an inherently higher potential for long life than others. But it isn’t the whole story.
Being a Labrador, being purebred, being a largish dog, all go against your dog when it comes to life expectancy. On the other hand, being athletic, good tempered, and well structured go in his favor. So, for these reasons, the Labrador falls into the medium range of life expectancy when compared with other dogs.
You Can Help Your Labrador Live Longer
There are some dog breeds that are longer lived than our beloved Labs. And quite a few that are much shorter lived.
You can help to influence your dog’s longevity to a certain extent. If you are choosing a puppy, choose his parents wisely. Make sure that they are health tested and bred by a responsible breeder. Look for a co-efficient of inbreeding that is below 5%. Consider choosing a black or yellow Lab. And make sure the parents have great temperaments, and have been well cared for.
Socialize your puppy thoroughly when you get him home. So that he is confident and views the world as a happy, friendly place. Above all, keep your dog slim. Really slim. When you look into those pleading eyes, make sure you don’t give in to your dog’s request for second helpings.
How Long Do Labs Live On Average?
So let’s recap how long do Labs live? On average Labradors live to around 12.5 years, and this life span may be increasing. Some individual Labradors live a good deal longer.
Train, socialize and supervise your dog and make sure he is properly fed and well exercised throughout his natural life. With loving care, a visible waistline, and a little luck, your friend could live into his teens and be with you for many years to come.